A Harvest of Blessing


I know I’m not the only one who has been loving redoing furniture lately. There is just something about taking a piece that looks boring, old, or plain ol’ ugly and giving it a new life. And the method I’m going to share today has been one of my favorites lately.

I first heard about the stain over paint technique last summer. One of my neighbors messaged me one evening to come over and look at the project she had going on in her garage -an amazing chest that she got for free behind some cabin, score! (Just a note: it’s awesome to have a neighbor also into refinishing stuff, we show off our latest items and show a good amount of sadness when the other gets the good bargain at the thrift store)

Once I heard about staining over paint I knew I would have to try it out soon. And did I ever, I might have gone a little overboard with the technique. From what I can recall I used it on the vintage ladder, a chair and a nightstand.

I did share my stain over paint technique briefly (not that it’s that difficult) before but I thought I would share it in a little more detail today.

  1. My first step is always to sand and wipe down any piece that I am working on. Part way through the summer we invested in a power sander and it quickly became one of my favorite tools (it’s currently neck-in-neck with the jigsaw).
  2. Next comes the painting part. Honestly I only prime about 50% of my projects, there is no good reason as to why I don’t prime all of them, I just don’t. All the paint that we used for these three pieces came from Restore, we got most of our pails for $10 (as opposed to the $40+ they are at home improvement stores), and there are even times where Restore will have a sale where everything is 50% off so you can get one for $5. When shopping at a place like this you are limited to the colors that they have available, but we were able to find some that worked.
  3. After painting a couple of coats I let each piece dry for a good 24 hours.
  4. Then I took fine sand paper and lightly sanded each piece (by hand, no power sander at this point). The first time I did this I sanded too much and the result was not what I was going for, for me fine sand paper and sanding very lightly worked perfectly.
  5. Then, using gloves, I brushed the stain on in small portions (approximately 6 inch square sections worked well) and then would immediately wipe the stain off with a wet rag (I had a bucket of water handy for rinsing it off throughout). Then I would use a dry rag to wipe off any remaining stain. I found that this left the perfect amount of stain to soak in and get in the grooves. (For the chair I used Varathane’s Mission Oak stain and the nightstand I used Varathane’s Expresso, and I believe I used the Mission Oak on the ladder as well, but am not positive on that one.)
  6. I just continued with the brushing, wiping with a wet rag and wiping with a dry rag until each piece was done.

I really like how each one turned out, it gives each item just the perfect amount of a vintage looking touch. What are your thoughts on the staining over paint technique? Have you ever tried it or hope to in the future? If you’ve done it I would love to see some photos!




I had way too much fun this weekend making my own font, I dubbed it “curls” and thought I’d share it on here in case there was anyone else who could find a use for it.

I often find myself browsing on the web for a font idea that I have but I can either never find it or it’s one of those fonts that cost $50-$100 so I have a feeling I’ll be creating more fonts over time as the fancy strikes. If you have a use for the font, feel free to download it here.

Is there anyone else out there doing the Fresh Start She Reads Truth plan? This was the verse we were meditating on this weekend, I feel like it is so perfect for this season (both weather-wise and for my life):

Happy Monday friends, I feel like we’ve got a great week ahead of us! 



I used to love watching Super Nanny -even before I had a child. Scratch that, I loved watching it the most before I had Raeca. It was so easy to watch and see where the parents were going wrong and tell myself that I could do a much better job.

And then you have a kid and all that knowledge goes out the window and you realize you really don’t know the first thing about parenting. At least, that’s how I felt. Even a year and a half ago when we did our homestudy, we were asked about how we did and would discipline our children and to that point we really hadn’t needed to discipline much and it was a hard question to answer.

It has now been years since I’ve watched the show but I still do remember some of Super Nanny’s most used techniques: the naughty chair/step/stool (in essence a designated spot for time-outs), her sleep separation technique, rewards charts . . . she was big on discipline and rewards.

Earlier this year Raeca really started testing the limits, like all normal toddlers I guess. So I tried implementing some of SN’s techniques and found they were really not working. I found when I tried to give Raeca a timeout she would just get more upset, scream louder, try to get out, and never learned anything anyways. We tried a rewards jar with very little success, over and over again, we tried the techniques to no avail.

Finally, a few months ago I was getting so frustrated with discipline I got a few books out from the library. I got books out on a range of different parenting techniques and as I read the ones on positive discipline really jumped out at me and made the most sense. Implementing some of techniques in the books I read, while remaining calm myself, have made a tremendous difference in Raeca’s behavior the last few weeks, seriously guys, it’s been a game changer.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned that have made the biggest difference for us:

  1. changing the way we speak – positive discipline involves a lot of speaking positively -go figure. This involves rewording some of our common phrases, so instead of saying “don’t hit”, we are supposed to reword the sentence to something like “be gentle” or “how about a hug instead?”, especially with toddlers who, while they may understand “don’t hit” they don’t really know where to go from there. This way you aren’t telling them what they can’t do but rather giving them something they can do. This works for so many different things, instead of telling kids to not throw their cars, change the sentence to, “how about we drive them on the rug over here” or instead of “don’t scream” you could change it to “please talk with your quiet voice”, etc
  2. ask questions that give a choice – one thing I know about kids is: given the chance they will say say no. For Raeca there are some things she constantly struggles with and always says no to, like going the bathroom before bed, so now instead of telling her it’s time to go to the bathroom or asking her if she wants to go I give her a choice and say: “which bathroom do you want to use tonight, yours or Mommy and Daddy’s?” I now do this for almost everything that she usually resists against and while there are some times where she will say no to both options, it occurs much less often. Some more of my favorites lately have been: “do you want to wear your purple jammies or Minnie jammies?”, and “do you want to wear a ponytail or a headband?”
  3. give a warning and use a timer – my social butterfly loves to go hangout at the park everyday but coming home has always been the issue, last summer I dragged a screaming little girl home every time because she never wanted to leave. About a month ago I bought a timer and when it was almost time for us to leave I would tell her it was almost time for us to go and would ask her if she wanted me to set the timer for 3, 4, or 5 minutes (haha, I love that she doesn’t really understand that 5 is more so she would often choose 3). I would then set the timer and would usually give her another warning at the 1 minute mark and then when the timer went off she wouldn’t even put up a fight. That was a huge break through for us. We would use the timer at home in a variety of different situations as well. We are now at the point where we don’t use the timer, I just tell her we are leaving in a few minutes and when it is time to go she is okay with it. I still can’t believe the change.

I took out quite a few books on positive discipline and this series by Jane Nelsen is far superior to all the other books I read on the topic. I got all three of these books out from the library and there were techniques and tips I was able to take away from each of the books. Understandably the preschooler one was more applicable to where Raeca is at right now.

I’ll be sharing some more of my tips and tricks in the future (not because I think I have it all figured out -I so do not- but because I know there are other moms out there just like me, looking for ideas and guidance on how to raise a healthy and respectful child without crushing their spirit).

I would love to hear about the kinds of parenting/discipline methods do you use in your house. Have you every tried positive discipline and if you have, how has it worked for you? 

life stealer or life giver?

life stealer or life giver?

I was reading a post on the influence blog this morning titled “strategy” and in the post Hayley mentions the idea of life stealers and life givers.

Obviously we want to have more life givers in our life and minimize the life stealers. While reading the post I started to write two lists, one of the life stealers in my life and another of the life givers.

Thankfully the life giver list was much longer and includes things such as: reading a good book, crafting, a beautiful sunrise, conversations about the future with Jared, getting rid of clutter, spending time with family, travel, working with underprivileged kids . . . ok, you get the idea, I’ll stop there.

Then I started to think about how people in our lives can also be life givers or life stealers and more importantly: am I a life giver or a life stealer? I say more importantly not because I think I am more important but because I have control over myself. If I see myself as a life stealer, I am the only person that can make the change into a life giver.

What does a life giver look like? A life giver . . .

  • is someone you want to be around
  • is an encourager
  • shares about their own life instead of gossiping about the lives of others
  • listens
  • sticks by you (Proverbs 18:24)
  • challenges you to live a life worthy of your calling (just like Paul in Ephesians 4)
  • dreams with you
  • motivates you by the way they live
  • one who whispers the gospel over me and my life every day (thanks Natalie!)

So, are you a life stealer or a life giver? And if you are a life stealer, are you ready to make 2013 the year you become a life giver? I know I am! If you are joining me let me know!

Does anyone else have any characteristics of a life giver they would like to add? If you leave some in the comments I’ll add them to the list!




This weekend I decided to start a little Christmas series of tutorials for homemade gifts. My hope is that they would be gifts that you would love to give and receive and don’t scream homemade in a bad way.

My goal is to share at least one gift idea a week, and I’m starting it off with this hand stamped jewelry tutorial.

We have now released two different limited edition necklaces through Once Was Lost in the last few weeks and I thought I would share a little DIY on how to stamp your own jewelry. I checked out a few different tutorials online and this one was the one that I followed closest.

A few notes about the supplies . . .

  • I used a wet wipe instead of a polishing pad, I think a polishing pad would probably work better but I do add a little trick that worked for me while using the wet wipe in the tutorial
  • You can buy the steel blocks from craft stores (they are pretty expensive) or if you are like me and have an awesome father-in-law that works with metal you can get him to make you one
  • I bought my metal blank online but I have seen many tutorials that just use washers
  • The size of my stamp set is 3/32″

Now onto the tutorial:

First, place your metal blank on your steel block. I like to use painters tape so my blank doesn’t move and I often use it as a guide to make sure my letters are straight. For this particular blank I was trying to follow the curve of the heart so the tape was just used to keep my blank secure.

I like to start at the end of the word when stamping. Be sure to hold your stamp as straight up and down as possible so you stamp the whole letter on.

A tip if you are stamping starting with the last letter: write your word or phrase on a piece of paper so you don’t mess up the spelling. It’s a lot harder to spell backwards.

A couple more shots of the letters as they were stamped:

Once the stamping was completed:

Then I used the sharpie to go over the letters I just stamped. Once they were all traced over I used the wet wipe to get rid of most of the black marker, just leaving some in the cracks to help the word show up more.

With the wet wipe I find it works best for me to rub the it with the wet wipe a few times first and then I rub my thumb over it until most of the black is gone.

After I finished wiping:

The difference the black marker makes:

My final product:

If you decide to make your own hand stamped jewelry I would love to see it so feel free to send me a link.

If you are interested in buying a necklace from Once Was Lost remember that 50% of the proceeds go to couples in the process of adopting internationally. 



I have been wanting to make my own old and weathered looking growth chart ever since I came across this DIY on Pinterest a while back. I knew I wanted to find a board that had already been used and had some character and last week I found one!

I love the tutorial that I followed but made my own changes (making it quicker, which is much easier for my craft ADD), so I thought I would share my own process in case there is anyone else like me that needs to do quick crafts in order to keep interested. I need to appologize about the quality of some of the photos. I got lazy and used my phone for some of them, and a lot of the work was done in the pre-sun hours of the day (before Raeca wakes up so I can actually get some work done).

Here he is in his very blurry iPhone photo quality. Just a regular ole’ board with some old nail holes and some cool knots.

The best thing about the board? The price . . .  yeah that says 25 cents:

The first thing I did was stain my wood.

Then I used my Silhouette to cut out some chevron shapes onto white scrapbooking paper. I found the chevron through Google images and then traced it in Silhouette Studio. I sprayed a temporary adhesive to the back of all the chevron shapes except one. The one without the spray was used as my spacer. It was hard for me to remember in the early morning hours that the places where I put the paper would actually be wood in the end and the wood pieces were going to be white. I found it easiest to start at the top of my board and alternated the temporarily tacky paper with wooden spaces.

The board once I had all the papers down.

As I began to paint the papers started to curl a bit and some of the paint did bleed a bit. That was fine with me though because I was planning on sanding it and didn’t care if I had crisp lines. I waited a minute or two after painting my last chevron on before peeling off all the papers. Side note: If I had wanted lines that were crisp, I could have easily cut the chevron pieces out of contact paper or vinyl instead, that would have reduced most of the bleeding

I then used my Silhouette to cut out dashes and numbers 1 through 5. I sprayed the back of them again with my glue and while I was waiting a few minutes for the glue to dry (so it would temporarily adhere and not be permanent) I got out the measuring tape and measured where I wanted my foot markings. I started with the bottom of the board being at about 10 inches so I would have room to paint the one foot mark on. I started out by painting the dashes in black.

And then moved on to the numbers. I didn’t wait for the dashes to completely dry because I am impatient (remember crafting ADD), plus since I was going to sand it down I didn’t care if I peeled of some paint (although it didn’t peel off anyway).

After my chevrons, dashes and numbers were painted on this is what she looked like (hmm, interesting, the board started out as a he and has now progressed to a she, not sure why I am even subscribing a gender to a wooden board). You can see some of the parts where my white from the chevron bled through. No biggie, I fixed most of that in the next step.

And here she is all sanded down:

To attach the board to the wall I used mirror mounting tape that I found at Walmart.

I ended up using manila tags and regular ole’ gold thumbtacks to write her growth onto. I thought about using nails but since I put the chart up in Raeca’s room I didn’t want anything that she could bump into and get hurt with. The thumbtacks are flush to the wood so I don’t have to worry about that. Apparently I don’t have her height at one year written down, I’m going to have to check with the doctors office yet and see if they can give me that info.

If I would have bought new wood I probably would have bought something a little longer -this only goes up a little past 5 feet, which isn’t as tall as I would ideally like it.

I am having a table at a local craft show next month and have thought about making a few of these up, but I’m not sure if others would love it as much as I do.

I am excited to use this throughout the years!

with love,



In an effort to live in an environment that consists of “less of me and my stuff and more of Christ and His kingdom” (Jen Hatmaker) I am currently getting rid of many items by selling or donating them.


Yesterday I decided to take on the clothes in my closet (and dresser and various piles . . .). Prior to beginning I counted each piece and I had 118 items of clothing which consisted of shirts, skirts, sweaters, pants, dresses, shorts and capris. I went through each item and for once I didn’t allow myself to justify keeping items that were questionable; like that pair of pants that I hope to fit into one day or that dress that I’ve only worn once but you never know when I will want to wear it again . . . I also had a couple of items that still had the tags on -and they weren’t recent purchases either.

Just some of the clothes I went through:

After going through each item I ended up with 43 pieces to give away (and one pair of pants that I threw in the garbage), that brings me down to 74 articles of clothing. I have to say, it feels good to have gone through all my clothes and now I have less options on what to wear (which is good for someone like me who tends to be indecisive).

I was even able to find a place to bring the clothes to -I am donating them to the YWCA Crisis Shelter. I got this off of their website:

Last year we housed 951 women, children and youth at risk. Unfortunately we turned away as many as we housed. There is a desperate need for emergency shelter beds in our community at present. The gap between the rich and poor continues to grow. Many of our clients are the working poor trying to support their families. The lack of emergency shelter beds in our community and rising costs of rent makes escaping the cycle of poverty a challenge.

In addition to purging clothes I went through my accessories (clips, necklaces, scarves & purses) and found a few of them to sell and a couple to give away.

When I walked into my closet yesterday there was a noticeable difference -there is much less stuff, which results in a much cleaner closet.

I mentioned yesterday that cleaning out the closet wouldn’t be that hard for me since clothes aren’t really my thing, but next up on my list to purge is books. I think I am going to have a much harder time with this one.

Once again, I invite you to join me on this journey of less of me and my stuff and more of Christ and His kingdom

depraved indifference

depraved indifference

Warning: this video makes me cry every single time I watch it. If you are a movie crier are in a public setting right now maybe wait to watch it. And if you aren’t a crier I still think this video should make you cry.

As he imagines his son, Hudson, in that situation I try to imagine my daughter, and it just breaks my heart.


“You see there is a cast system in heaven, but it is exactly backwards of the cast system the world creates, this world applauds and esteems the wealthy and the powerful, the privileged and the talented. That’s not how God’s system works. Jesus came and he approved it, he took the lowest spot and He was God. The bigger you get in the kingdom of heaven, the lower the position you take. The special ones in God’s kingdom are the weak ones: the ones who can’t fight for themselves, the ones who can’t speak for themselves, the ones that don’t have someone to feed them, the ones that don’t have someone to protect them, and Jesus says those are the prized ones and you treat them as the royalty here on Earth. And the way you treat them is ultimately how you’re treating me. What you do unto the least of these is how you’re ultimately treating your God. Christianity is taking what has been purchased by the cross, the behavior of heaven, nature of Jesus Christ, and transplanting into the heart of men and women down here on Earth. So that they behave not like this world, but like heaven. And so when this world sees them, they are different there is something odd about them, they are from another realm. What does it look like? It is noble, it is brave, it’s courageous, it is selfless. It is willing to spend itself for the weak.

“I was doing some study on Liberia. If you wanna be disturbed, start studying Liberia. This 4 year old boy who was sitting on the side of the road, no one to comfort, no one to take him in, no shelter, no food, nothing. So the middle of that night, I wake up. And it’s like God had already deposited a question that was waiting to meet me when I popped awake in the middle of the night, 2 in the morning. I had this picture of this little boy in Liberia in front of me. And God asked me a question, What if that was Hudson? My four year old. Eric, what if that was Hudson. You don’t mess with a father’s heart. What if that was Hudson? My boy was on the side of a road across the world from me, suffering, totally alone, not knowing what was happening, he’s not old enough to comprehend this, he’s abandoned, he has no one to fight for his cause, no one to give him a voice he doesn’t even know how to articulate his circumstances, he’s hungry- no one’s feeding him, he’s starving to death. If my son is in that situation stick a concrete wall in front of me and I’d claw it through with my bare hands. This is my son we’re talking about. If I couldn’t get there I’d call up every friend I have, and I would say, “I have a son over in Liberia, you call yourself my friend. I need you to get on a plane, and i need you to get to him. I’ll give you the coordinates, I’ll do whatever it takes, but I need you to get to my son and be a Father to him.” God’s response, “Eric, that’s my Hudson. That is MY Hudson.” And He’s looking to us, and he’s saying, “I’m calling up everyone I know, everyone on my list that calls himself by my name that says they’re a friend of God and I’m saying my son is over in Liberia, are you willing to get on the plane and get to him?

“We have a cause, but we don’t want to see it. And it’s when we finally acknowledge the fact that something is wrong with us. Not with the world out there, if we start with this little group here and we say God you need to fix this. I suffer from depraved indifference. So do you. Oh we care, it’s not that doesn’t move us at some level to hear about this little child over in Liberia. We care. But we can go home tonight and sleep just fine. How is that? It’s because there’s an indifference to that life. And it’s naturally born within us, that life isn’t affecting us, its not in our backyard, were not related to it. It’s someone else’s issue. In fact, we start quoting scriptures about God being a father to the fatherless and we’re like thank you God for being a father to that child. He says, “Remember you call yourself my body, I’m not there except throughyou. Your hands, Eric those are my hands. Your feet, those are my feet. That heart? It’s my heart. If its not beating, my hearts not beating on this earth anymore. I work through my body. I’m a father to the fatherless through my body, I rescue the weak and the vulnerable through you. And if you’re not doing it no one is.”

“There is a solution for our disease which is known as sin. And it’s Jesus Christ. There is a solution for these dying children. And it’s Jesus Christ. Might sound over simplistic, but that is it. That is the solution. Because Jesus Christ will change a man like Eric Ludy into a man that feels what Jesus Christ is feeling. And he cannot stay in suburbia USA anymore and not do nothing. Heros are made because they are moved, not in their head, but in their heart. You have to be moved at such a level that you will shed blood. Jesus Christ was moved. For God SO loved the world that he GAVE, and that son that was given suffered and died for what? For the cause that is being laid before us tonight. It wasn’t head knowledge, about the disaster taking place in this world, it was life abandonment. Unto the cause of those that are dying, unto the eternal souls that are around us. Do we care at the level God cares? Do we carry a burden? When we go home tonight will we grieve over the fact that those children are God’s children? And he is longing for an advocate to stand up and say, “I’m willing God to fight for what is Yours, I’m willing God, burden me.” When Jesus was in Gethsemane, you know what he was there for? He was there for life. He was burdened with the weight of it all for LIFE. And he was willing to sweat great droplets of blood. Are we? For our King and his glory, we will rescue these little ones.” -Eric Ludy